For several years now I’ve driven past the café 2 minutes from my house without so much of a second thought. On the corner of a busy road, it just didn’t appeal, it looked empty and bland. When I have gone to grab a coffee I have headed to my favourite haunts in the next suburb over. However, recently on a recommendation I ventured in, and found what I have been missing all these years. Within the doors of this inconsequential looking café are delicious French pastries, made fresh on site each day. Warm, light, flaky and buttery croissants, either plain, chocolate or almond. Soft cinnamon brioches glazed to perfection. Tarts piled high with strawberries and cream. The coffee too, hot, strong and delicious. Friendly and lovely staff. I have been won over.
So often we judge by appearance and not just when it comes to cafes. We judge other people by how they look, whether it is the person applying for the job, the person at the door, a potential date or a friend. Anyone we come into contact with we can make assumptions based on how they look. We judge ourselves too, and often even harsher than on a stranger. We can criticise how we look or appear, we can focus on the flaws. Barraged with photo shopped images in media, we can become discontent or spiral into comparative living by measuring how we look compared to every other woman on the planet. We can think our appearance disqualifies us from pursuing our dreams. We can think our appearance matters most for being loved and accepted.
Appearances aren’t everything. We need to remember that we were created and are loved by a God who favours our heart about all. Nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart.
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) While the Bible mentions the beauty of Sarah, of Rebekah, the external beauty of the one He chose to be mother to Jesus was not mentioned. What we do know, however, is that Mary was a woman who found favour with God and who despite the risks, ridicule and danger said yes to God. And to God, that was what mattered most.
“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:4)
It is the inner beauty that captivates the heart. It is the inner beauty that matters.
Today we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. Actually her real birthday was in April. But in New Zealand we celebrate it in June with a public holiday. God Save the Queen!
As Monarch of England and the Commonwealth, I am sure that Queen Elizabeth would have received many an extravagant gift. In fact, she has been gifted unusual items – from a dozen tins of tuna, eggs, a box of snail shells to a canary, jaguar, sloths and even an elephant.
Buckingham Palace may not recognise me as one of the Royal Family. The Duchess of Cambridge is not my sister-in-law and I’m pretty confident that I’m not a long lost descendant from the Tsars. But I am and will always be royalty. A daughter of the King of Kings. A Princess.
A few years ago a movie was produced called Elizabeth, based on the life of Elizabeth I. A powerful and strong leader, a successful monarch who led England through turbulent times. But before she came to the throne her half sister Mary was Queen. Mary wanted to do everything in her power to keep Elizabeth from reigning as queen, even going to the extent of having her arrested. When the guards came to take Elizabeth away she is bewildered and fearful for her life. In the movie just before the guards hauled her away her friend said to her “remember who you are” This friend wanted Elizabeth to remember that no matter what her enemies said or did to her, nothing could negate her rightful position and she should hold her head up high. She was a princess. She was royalty.
We need to think the same. It doesn’t matter what you are facing in life or where you’ve been. It doesn’t matter what you have or where you live. You are royalty because of your birthright in Christ. So remember who you are!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16,17)
Time to put on that crown, even if it is invisible.